Individuals in Georgia are three times more likely to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about a debt collector than residents living in other states, according to an analysis that was conducted and released yesterday by LendingTree.
On average, the CFPB received 32 complaints per 100,000 adult consumers regarding debt collection activity. In Georgia, that number increases to 96 complaints per 100,000 adult consumers, according to LendingTree’s analysis. Georgia was followed by Texas (60) and Nevada (58) as the states where the per-capita number of complaints about debt collection were the highest. At the other end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia had the lowest per-capita complaint rate at 3.8 per 100,000 adults, followed by Vermont (5) and South Dakota (6).
While the data is straightforward enough, LendingTree uses an aggressive verb to describe the actions of debt collectors — hounded — even though the complaints, as noted by LendingTree, are unverified and present only one side of the situation.
The analysis also takes consumers at their word when they complain that a debt has already been paid, noting that Delaware is at the top of the list of “states where people are hounded most for debts they’ve already paid or discharged” followed by Georgia and Nevada.
Analyzing CFPB complaint data for trends can be a useful tool, to identify areas where complaints are trending higher than others or to see if there are common threads in the types of complaints being filed. But it’s important to keep things in context with respect to the one-sided nature of the complaints, and avoid using incendiary words to paint a different picture of the situation.